Middle-Income Trap


As Driver of World Economic Growth, Asia’s Vulnerabilities Emerge

January 7, 2015


2014 will be remembered as the year when China became the world’s biggest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, overtaking the United States for the first time in history. This move, which did not come as a surprise, is the sign of a superpower transition…


AT APEC, Ministers Endorse Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chains

November 12, 2014


This year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Beijing kicked off Nov. 7-8 with the 26th Ministerial Meeting, which focused on three priority areas: advancing regional economic integration, promoting economic growth, and strengthening connectivity and infrastructure development. In its joint ministerial statement, the group endorsed the “APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chain Development and Cooperation” as a mechanism to strengthen mutual economic cooperation within the global value chain network.


Trade, Private Sector, Soft and Hard Infrastructure to Top Beijing APEC Agenda

November 5, 2014


Wednesday marked the first day of the week-long Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, hosted this year in Beijing. This year’s summit, themed “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership,” brings together ministerial leaders, CEOs of global corporations, and other leading voices in the private and public sectors to discuss the challenges facing Asian-Pacific economies. The week will culminate with the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 10-11. Heads of states from all 21 member economies, including U.S. President Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping…


Bangladesh’s Development Surprise: A Model for Developing Countries

June 25, 2014


By many metrics, Bangladesh’s development trajectory is a unique success story, especially since the 1990s when democratic rule was reinstated and extensive economic reforms were made. Poverty incidence has fallen from 60 percent to around 30 percent.


ADB’s Stephen P. Groff Examines Rise of Inequality in Middle Income Asia

May 7, 2014


On the heels of the launch of the Asian Development Bank’s latest Asian Development Outlook 2014 report, ADB Vice President Stephen P. Groff visited Asia Foundation headquarters in San Francisco last week to discuss key findings and how the ADB is realigning its operations to emphasize inclusiveness…


Can Political Dynamics Cause Thailand and Malaysia to Fall into the Middle-Income Trap?

January 15, 2014


Despite the troubling political unrest and protests that continue to unfold across Asia in 2014, the New Year actually looks good for the region’s economies. Asia continues as one of the world’s fastest growing regions, projected to experience 5.25 percent growth in 2014…

Laborers on their work site in Gurgaon. Gurgaon is a rapidly gro 

Are Asian Economies Prepared for Higher Growth in 2014?

January 8, 2014


As all eyes turn to Brazil for the World Cup this summer, and to India and Indonesia for two of the world’s largest democratic elections, 2014 may as well be called the “Year of the Middle-Income Country.” Last year saw several economies make steady gains, including powerhouse China…


The Silent Crisis in Timor-Leste’s Development Trajectory

September 4, 2013


As International Literacy Day approaches, the matter of literacy remains an enormous challenge around the world, including in Asia’s youngest nation, Timor-Leste. Amid the competing development agendas for this democratizing, fast-developing, and oil-rich nation, education, and literacy in particular, too often falls by the wayside.


A Conversation with Thai Diplomat & Congressional Fellow Maes Suwantra

August 21, 2013


Last week, Maes Suwantra of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited The Asia Foundation’s headquarters to share his year-long experience as a 2012-13 Congressional Fellow that included an 8-month affiliation with the office of Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), in Washington, D.C.


The Right Kind of Development: Building Peace in Thailand and Beyond

June 12, 2013


The Asia Foundation’s new study, “The Contested Corners of Asia,” highlights the growing importance of conflicts that occur within rather than between countries. In recent years, subnational conflicts between national governments and local rebel groups…


The Future of Armed Conflict

June 5, 2013


The Asia Foundation just launched a major new study on development and subnational conflict in Asia. “The Contested Corners of Asia” argues that subnational conflict is the most widespread, deadly, and enduring form of conflict in Asia, and that increasing development and expanding state capacity do not make these conflicts any easier to resolve. A product of a three-year research effort, the study involved nearly 100 researchers, leading subnational conflict experts…


A New Aid Order in the Asian Century

May 29, 2013


The future of “traditional” aid is increasingly and rather suddenly in question. Why? Several reasons: rapid transformations in the global economic and political order, the growth and diversification of private financial flows to developing countries…


Cambodia’s Small Businesses Serve as Backbone of Sustainable Economy

May 15, 2013


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in late March that the nation was on target to move from the status of a low-income to a lower-middle-income nation by the end of 2013, ranking it the 15th country that obtained high economic growth in the world in the last 10 years.


The Next Asian Tiger? A Conversation with U.S. Amb. to Bangladesh Dan Mozena

March 27, 2013


The Asia Foundation recently hosted U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan W. Mozena, for an informal lunch discussion at its San Francisco headquarters, followed by a public event organized by the Foundation’s Washington, D.C., office.


Where are Malaysia’s Women Politicians?

March 13, 2013


Malaysia’s 13th general elections must be called by June 2013. After the ruling Barisan Nasional lost its two thirds majority in the 2008 elections, the big question in the minds of citizens and political parties is whether BN will recapture its majority or lose further ground to the opposition.

The Asia Foundation, Bangkok Thailand, August 2010 

Thailand Adopts Nationwide Minimum Wage Policy Amid Controversy

January 30, 2013


From January 1 of this year, Thailand’s employers must pay all employees at least 300 baht (about $10) a day. If they don’t, they will face six months in jail and/or a 100,000 baht fine for not complying. The 300-baht minimum daily wage policy, the fulfillment of a 2011 election campaign pledge by the ruling Pheu Thai Party, has been piloted in seven provinces since May 1, 2012 (including Bangkok), with much debate and division among employers, labor unions, government ministries, and academics about the actual and perceived impact of the policy on the economy, productivity, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and inequality.

Bangladesh July 2012 

Regional Integration: Asia’s New Frontier in 2013

January 9, 2013


Over the last several decades, Asia has become increasingly integrated with the rest of the world, its rapid development driven largely by exports to the United States and European Union. Yet, as the world’s main economic arteries shift eastward, intra-regional integration within Asia still lags behind.


Asian Development Cooperation: Insights from Australia

December 5, 2012


While the Asian Century is most often used to describe the global shift of economic power to Asia, Asia’s rise is also significant in the area of development cooperation. Asian countries have emerged as game changers in the aid arena, challenging traditional notions of aid, reshaping global aid architecture…


In Conversation with BRAC’s Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

September 19, 2012


This week, development pioneer Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the largest nongovernmental development organization in the world, is in Washington, D.C., where he concludes his visit to the U.S. as an Asia Foundation Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Visiting Fellow.